Two weeks after a young man with autism and challenging behaviors was barred from a church in Minnesota, today’s Boston Globe carries a story about efforts by a community of faith in Massachusetts to include a young man with autism.
Joshua Aaron Krane (left) made his Bar Mitzvah with the help of a program called Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, which offers religious training to more than 145 young people with learning disabilities.
Gateway arranged for Josh’s ceremony to be held in a classroom on a Thursday afternoon, because he is extremely sensitive to distraction or breaks in his regular routine. It also helped him to use nontraditional technology. He led the congregation in prayer with a Powerpoint presentation on a laptop computer.
Widely quoted in the article is Bill Gaventa, a minister and director of community and congregational supports for the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. Gaventa and former Pennsylvania First Lady Ginny Thornburgh will be the keynote speakers at a Philadelphia-area conference this week on including people with disabilities in communities of faith.
Many thanks to Pam Wilson of Bellaonline for sharing information on the conference!
See also: News and commentary about the documentary Praying with Lior.